Friday, December 3, 2010

Zulu Beer Baskets

Our Zulu baskets are here, including this gorgeous Zulu beer basket. We're very pleased to expand our African basket collection beyond the Bolga baskets we currently carry. Zulu beer baskets, called Ukhamba in their native South Africa, rank among the premier handmade baskets in the world. These beautiful fair trade African baskets are woven from Ilala palm leaves and dyed with extracts from local vegetation. They are usually bulb-shaped with rigid walls and a tight-fitting lid, and the combination of an incredibly tight weave and the waxiness of the palm leaves renders them waterproof. When liquids are stored in them, the palm leaf pores swell and condensation forms on the outside, helping keep the contents cool. Traditionally these baskets are used for drinking home made beer, but we don't test them for water-tightness. These exceptional African baskets are striking works of art and help rural Zulu families earn a fair wage. Zulu beer baskets should not be confused with Zulu herb baskets, which we also carry. which have a looser weave to allow air circulation and are not meant to be water tight (we sometimes see herb baskets sold online as beer baskets, so be careful.)

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